Depending on whether you have planned a funeral service before or it is your first time doing so, you may not know how to plan your funeral program/brochure. This guide will provide the necessary information and more to plan the funeral program that your loved one deserves.

This guide will address what the purpose of a funeral program is, why it is important to have one, how to plan write, and design a funeral program, and where you can print funeral programs.

Why Is It Important To Have A Funeral Program/Brochure?

There are many reasons to have a funeral program/brochure at your memorial service.

Order Of Service

The program will outline the key points of the funeral service.

A funeral program/brochure will inform guests of the order of the service, so they know what to expect and what happens next. Funerals are memorials where guests of all ages are in attendance. For the old and the young guests, it is helpful to have a program that informs them of what is going to happen next.

The funeral program will also list important information regarding who will be singing, reading the eulogy, and any other information you feel is relevant to the event.

A clear display of this information is a simple yet touching way of acknowledging those who participate in the deceased’s celebration of life.

Emotional Outlet

Putting together a funeral program can help in your grieving process. It is a beautiful way to honor the deceased as you process the loss you are experiencing while simultaneously celebrating their life.

A funeral program can help guests at the service. Attending a service can be overwhelming but having a funeral program to remind loved ones of the life the deceased lived and all the things they loved can comfort them.

Legacy – A life well lived

It is possible that some of the attendees do not have any physical tokens of the deceased to remember them, so gifting them a funeral program/brochure with personal details about an important person in their life will mean a lot to them.

A funeral program can summarize the life of the deceased, as well as share their achievements and important milestones. A physical funeral program is a piece of the deceased that your guests can hold in their hands and take home with them to help them celebrate the life of your loved one and grieve the way they need to.

How Do I Plan The Funeral Program / Brochure?

Planning the funeral program may seem difficult, what is important is how you think your loved one would want to be remembered.

The first step in planning the funeral program is deciding what your overall budget is for the programs and how many copies of printed brochures you want. This number depends on how many guests you plan to invite to the service and how many extra copies you would like to keep after the funeral.

Once you have your own roughly estimated number, you should also ask close family members and friends if they would like extra copies so you can add their numbers to your total. Some people may not be able to attend, so it is wise to save a few copies to send to them to have as keepsakes.

What To Include In The Funeral Program/Brochure

Once you settle on a budget and know how many programs/brochures you need, you need to gather the information about the deceased and photos of them that you want to include.

Working together with family and close friends is a good way to collect these pieces.

While you will probably find the bulk of images and information you want through the deceased’s inner circles, it can be prudent to reach out to former classmates, professors, teammates, and mentors. They may have pictures and stories of the deceased that close friends and family have never seen or heard of!

These new photos and stories can be wonderful to see and hear as they preserve the legacy of your loved one and can be included in the funeral program/brochure.

Photos To Include in Funeral Program / Brochure

It can be difficult to choose just a few pictures to symbolize the entire lifetime of a loved one. We recommend collecting a handful from different stages of life (childhood, adolescence, middle ages, and old age), some of their proudest moments (graduations, weddings, births of their children, travels), and a few where they are smiling and happy.

Once you collect them, try sitting down with loved ones to decide which ones you love the most from the pictures gathered.

Personal Information To Include in Funeral Program/Brochure

As with anything, the best place to start with personal information is at the beginning. Including when and where the deceased was born and their full legal name, as well as their birth time if you can find it, is quite common.

Whether they traveled constantly or stayed in the same home their entire life, mentioning the places the deceased lived their life in the program helps to paint a picture of who they were.

Include their personal achievements and big milestones. State who they married, when their children were born and how old they are in the present day, surviving family members are all important pieces of information to include. It is also typical to include the date and place of the deceased’s death.

Order of Service Information To Include in Funeral Program / Brochure

One of the most important reasons to have a funeral program is to include details about the service. You should include the funeral service’s time, place, and date. You can also include the same for the burial.

Acknowledging who will be officiating, and who will be delivering the eulogy by their full name is also standard practice when writing a funeral program.

Making the Program/Brochure

Once you know what you want to include about the deceased, it is time to assemble the program. There are several ways to do this and many online resources that will help you through the process.

You can contact BoldMarkup to help you put everything together or you can do it yourself (DIY)

Do It Yourself (DIY)

If you decide to go the DIY route and create your own programs, whether it is to save money on funeral expenses or because you prefer a personal touch, there are many ways to do so. There are online templates that you can purchase or download for free and then edit in Word or Google Docs.

You can also create your own program from scratch using free online sites like Canva or downloadable software like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. When designing your own program, you must also decide on what paper, fonts, and art to use.

The best way to do this is by thinking about what kind of visuals the deceased liked and designing a program that reflects them. Here is a case study of a funeral program/brochure designed by BoldMarkup

How Do I Arrange The Funeral Program/Brochure?

If you are creating your own program, you will have to structure it yourself. The structure of a funeral program is (usually) as follows:

  • Cover photo with background graphics
  • Funeral order of service includes
    • Music (Hymns)
    • Prayers
    • Readings
    • Eulogy
    • Benediction
    • Recessional
    • Interment or committal location
  • Biography of the Deceased
  • Tributes of loved ones follow
  • Photo Gallery
  • Hymns

Booklet Size

Figure out the size of the booklet you want, you must decide whether you need

  • A5 landscape (21cm x 14.8cm)
  • A5 Portrait (14.8cm x 21cm)
  • A4 Portriat (21cm x 29.7cm)
  • Custom size

Layout of Funeral Program / Brochure

You must decide what layout you wish to use, a graphic designer can help you make the right choice. Or you can pick ideas from several funeral programs you may have collected over a period of time. You have several options regarding layout.

Cover Photo With Background Graphics

For the cover photo, you should use a high-quality image of the deceased. Low-quality images will hinder the desired effect of the funeral program, especially if used on the cover of the brochure.

You should also choose a picture of the deceased that makes you and their loved ones happy when you look at it. The memorial brochure is going to be a part of their lasting legacy, so it should feature a photo that makes you smile.

The background graphics can be anything from pictures of their favorite places, flowers, sunrises/sunsets, religious symbols, and Adinkra symbols to something as simple as a color-blocked design scheme. If you choose to use an image as the background, try to find one that is not complicated so that it does not distract from the main photo of the deceased.

Funeral Order Of Service

We have outlined a typical funeral order of service above, but every service is special and different. The church that will host the service may give you their outline to work with. You may have a different order that you want to follow or additional aspects of the service that you have planned, and you should alter this part of the program as you see fit.

You can also list the names of the people who will be involved during each part of the service alongside the events in the program so that unacquainted guests or old friends can connect afterward.

As the funeral order of service is text, it is important to consider font type and size here. If you have found a font type and size that works well for the biography, you can use it again for the funeral order of service.

Biography of the Deceased

If someone else is responsible for writing the funeral program’s biography, you only need to proofread it once they have sent it to you. If you are in charge of writing the biography but do not know where to start, pick ideas from several funeral programs you may have collected over a period of time.

Writing The Biography

A Biography in a funeral program differs from one that you would publish in a local newspaper. It is longer, more detailed, and less formal.

It is normal to include information such as the deceased’s full name, the age they lived to, their birth and death dates, the cause of death, their parents’ names, and their surviving family members.

You can include details about different stages of their life, such as their childhood and their career. You can also include details such as what made the deceased special, their role in their community, and the parts of life they loved the most.

Do not worry if you do not consider yourself a writer and you are tasked with writing the obituary. What is important is that you write from the heart.

Typing The Biography

When typing the biography, there are two main things to keep in mind.

The first is the type of font you choose. A font that is legible is of the utmost importance, as you will have people of all ages who receive copies of the program.

You should also use a font that is beautiful, so the program is aesthetically elegant and deserving of the deceased. Remember that legible does not equate with beautiful, so if you can find a font that you think is both, you should use it.

The second thing to consider is font size. Much like the legibility of the font, the words of tribute in the obituary will be lost on your guests if the letters are too small to read. On the other hand, a font size that is too large will take up too much space in the program and potentially look unappealing.

A great way to find which type of font and font size is going to work best for you is to print a trial copy on regular paper to see if it looks the way you want it to.

Typing the biography and tributes will give an idea of how many pages your funeral program/brochure may fill.

Photo Gallery

Photo collages are a wonderful way to display the treasured memories you have collected of the deceased. Similar to creating the funeral program, there are several free online resources to help you put multiple images together to create a clean, neat collage.

You can even add captions and clip art over some of the photos to denote when and where they were taken and who the deceased was sharing the moment with.

These are just a few ideas of what to include in the funeral program. You have the freedom to include whatever means the most to the deceased’s loved ones when you create the program yourself.

Where Can I Have My Funeral Program / Brochures Printed?

The common options for printing the funeral programs are through a printing service or do-it-yourself at home.

Through a Printing Service

Boldmarkup can facilitate printing of your funeral programs, there are also many printing service vendors that you can contact.

Printing At Home

If you decide to print the programs yourself, you will need specific supplies to ensure you end up with the correct amount of high-quality copies. Once you have finalized your DIY funeral brochure and are ready to print, you will need a good printer, extra ink, and special paper (cardstock, matte card, etc.). In some cases, you may also need special ink.

Make sure you collect all of the printing supplies you need well in advance from when you decide to print the programs so that you have ample time to make corrections if you need to.

How Can I Extend A Funeral Program’s Impact?

There are several ways to turn the funeral program you have created with so much love into a lasting memory for all funeral service attendees.

Memorial Gifts

One of the best ways to give the funeral programs a lasting impact is by incorporating them into a memorial gift. A memorial package can consist of personalized keyholders, handkerchiefs, keepsake mugs, and more.

These tokens allow loved ones of the deceased to carry memories and reminders of them and can help immensely with grieving. Including the funeral program as part of the memorial gift.

Honoring The Deceased Annually

Another way to maximize the impact of the funeral program is to send them out to close friends and family of the deceased each year on the anniversary of their death. By doing so, you are also honoring the legacy of the deceased. Reminding their loved ones of who they were, what they loved, and what they lived for is a precious way to keep their memory alive.

If you decide to begin this tradition, remember to account for the extra copies you plan to send out when creating your budget and printing your programs. If you decide to print the programs out each year, make sure you save the electronic design on your computer or an external hard drive, so you are able to access it when necessary.

How Do I Deal With My Grief Moving Forward?

We know that losing a loved one is difficult enough without the added stress of planning a funeral service and creating funeral programs. Although designing and writing funeral programs can help you grieve, you may also need alternative resources to help you with your grief after the service ends. Seek counseling if you must.


This guide has addressed what the purpose of a funeral program is, why it is important to have one, how to plan, write, and design a funeral program, and where you can print funeral programs.

The original source of inspiration, how to design a funeral program

Joshua Kyere

Joshua is a Creative designer with a traditional background in visual design. A website developer (designing and developing WordPress themes). An entrepreneur and small business enthusiast.

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